Friday, March 18, 2011
A Taste of my 2011 EPIC eBook Award Winner
Buy link: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/BlueMoonCafe.html
Someone--or something--is killing Seattle's gay men.
A creature moves through the darkest night, lit only by the full moon, taking them, one by one, from the rain city's gay gathering areas.
Someone--or something--is falling in love with Thad Matthews.
Against a backdrop of horror and fear, young Thad finds his first true love in the most unlikely of places--a new Italian restaurant called The Blue Moon Cafe. Sam is everything Thad has ever dreamed of in a man: compassionate, giving, handsome, and with brown eyes Thad feels he could sink into. And Sam can cook! But as the pair's love begins to grow, so do the questions and uncertainties, the main one being, why do Sam's unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon? Prepare yourself for a unique blend of dark suspense and erotic romance with The Blue Moon Cafe, written by the author Unzipped magazine called, 'the Stephen King of gay horror.' You're guaranteed an unforgettable reading experience, one that skillfully blends the hottest romance with the most chilling terror...
(Gay / Dark Fantasy / Shapeshifter / Werewolf / Suspense / Thriller)
In his imagination, Thad pictured the two of them coming in his front door and Sam throwing him roughly up against the door, covering his face and neck with kisses while his hands roamed, tweaking a nipple there, fondling his balls here. In the pregnant darkness, the man would work Thad into a frenzy of carnal desire so great he didn’t know if they would make it to the bedroom or if they would consummate their passion right on the living room floor. He saw their muscles, slicked with sweat, working in unison like a machine to bring each other to dizzying heights of pleasure.
He hadn’t pictured Edith greeting them at the door and the poor little Chihuahua manically jumping up and down on him, whining to be taken outside—immediately. So, with reluctance, Thad flipped on the overhead light so he could find her leash. He looked back at Sam, who waited outside in the shadows. “You can just go on in and have a seat on the couch. She won’t take me more than a minute.”
“It’s okay. I can wait out here.” Sam groped in his pocket and brought out a pack of cigarettes. He extracted one, lit it, and exhaled a plume of blue gray smoke into the night air. Thad was both repelled and attracted by the site of Sam lighting up.
Ugh. A smoker. Something I will have to work on changing. He then couldn’t deny the “bad boy” thrill the site of the man smoking gave him. Or maybe not.
Thad ducked back in and stooped to affix harness and leash to Edith, who was all but hopping up and down with impatience. She whimpered and stared desperately up at him.
“I know, I know,” Thad soothed. “Small bladder.”
The two stepped outside and Edith froze when she saw Sam. Her eyes widened and the hackles along her neck and back went up. She immediately began a furious yapping, baring her teeth, and lunging toward Sam, her tiny frame testing the endurance of the leather leash. Thad was surprised the old girl had so much fury and strength within her seven pound frame. He sent a weak smile Sam’s way to apologize for her behavior. “I don’t know what’s up with her. She’s usually not like this.”
“Maybe it’s the dark. I’ll walk over here.” Sam hurried back down the walkway until he stood near the street, the orange tip of his cigarette glowing in the dark.
Thad squatted down to comfort the little dog, shaking with fury and what seemed like terror. He had acquired Edith as a puppy and had made sure she was well socialized from about eight weeks old on, taking her everywhere with him and exposing her, over the years to all sorts of people, other dogs, and even cats. He had never seen her behave like this. Great! I finally find a man I think I could be nuts about and my dog doesn’t like him. Something I’ll have to work on. Thad walked Edith in the opposite direction from Sam and she calmed down enough to re-establish her original goal and to take care of it.
“I’ll put her in the bathroom,” Thad called to Sam as he headed back to the apartment. “Give me just a sec. I’ll leave the door open and then you can come in.”
Thad hurried to make a bed of towels for Edith in one corner, then rushed into the kitchen to put some peanut butter in her little Kong toy. He presented it to her. “Here, now I’ve been nice to you. Now you be nice to me. No more trouble from you.” He took one last glance back at the dog, busy with getting peanut butter out of her toy, before closing the bathroom door.
Sam leaned against his front door, smiling. He didn’t look tired in the least, even though it was near two in the morning and he had worked all evening. The color in his cheeks was high, his lips full and slightly parted, and the way he stared at Thad was all invitation. Thad simply wanted to get lost in that big, furry body.
But he was still a little flustered. “Sorry about that. She isn’t usually so unfriendly. I don’t know what got into her.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m not much of a dog person—maybe she knew that. And maybe you don’t know what’s gotten into her, but I have an inkling you have a very good idea what’s going to be getting into you.” Sam winked and then laughed.
“You dog!” Thad crossed the room, flicked off the lights, and pressed his body against Sam. The kisses, against the door, just as he had imagined, commenced. Thad was, for once, grateful he didn’t have a job to go to come Monday morning, because he knew his face would be red and chafed from the pressure of Sam’s beard. This way, he imagined he would smile with fond memories every time he looked in a mirror.
They kissed for what seemed like the next hour, until both of them panted and half their faces were wet with the other saliva. Without ever leaving the front door, shirts had been undone and pulled open, flies opened, and shoes kicked into corners.
Breathlessly, Thad forced himself away from Sam and said the three little words every man longs to hear: “To the bed.” He grabbed Sam and tugged him toward the bed that occupied one corner of his studio. They fell upon it, laughing and tearing at each other’s clothes...
[WITHHELD IN THE INTEREST OF THOSE WITH DELICATE SENSIBILITIES]
...Sam and Thad lay on their backs, breathless. Thad spoke first, but only after several minutes had passed, long enough for him to process what had just happened and to allow his respiration to return to a somewhat normal pace. “That was amazing. I’m no Mary Poppins, but I can honestly say I don’t know when it’s been that good for me.” Thad let out a long, quivering breath. “You’re right; you are an animal.”
Sam laughed and the sound was comforting, here in the pale, silvery light from a waning moon outside. Thad snuggled into the crook between Sam’s chest and arm, resting his head on the fur that blanketed Sam’s chest. This, he thought, surprising himself, is just about as good as the sex.
“I just go with my instincts.” Sam stroked Thad’s hair gently. “If that makes me an animal, then I am guilty as charged.” He moved slightly away from Thad. “Don’t kill me, but do you mind if I have a cigarette? I can go outside if you want.”
Thad shook his head, grinning. “A smoke after sex. That’s so cliché. But go ahead. Normally, I wouldn’t allow it, but I’ll make an exception for you…Sam.” Thad liked how the name felt on his tongue.
“Grazie.” Sam turned to sit up and grope in his pants pocket, bringing out a pack of Marlboro Reds and a lighter. He leaned back against the headboard and lit up. The room filled with the acrid stench of burning tobacco and paper and instead of being repelled, as he normally would be, Thad moved close to Sam again, taking up his newly claimed spot on the man’s chest. He stared up at him, watching him smoke. Lazily, he traced circles in the hairy mat covering Sam’s chest. His fingers stopped when he caught sight of a design on Sam’s left pectoral, something he had hadn’t noticed in the dim light or perhaps because it was all but hidden by the forest of hair. Thad got up on one elbow.
“You have a tattoo?”
In the dark, Sam nodded. “I’ve had it for years, way before tattoos were all the rage like they are these days.”
“Especially here in Seattle.” Thad often wondered if there was some requirement that all citizens of Seattle must have at least one tattoo. “What’s it of?” Thad strained to make out the design’s contours in the dim light and couldn’t.
Sam leaned forward to switch on the little bedside lamp. Thad squinted at the sudden light source, then directed his gaze down at the muscled chest before him. “What is it?” Thad traced the design with his fingers, lowering his head to peer more closely at it. He nipped at Sam’s nipple and Sam laughed.
“It’s Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, the twins who founded Rome in mythology. Cool, no?” Sam flexed his chest so the wolf seemed to move. Two cherubic twin boys below the figure suckled at her teats.
“It’s kind of weird. But it suits you.” Thad reached over Sam to turn off the light again. “What brought you to America?”
Did Thad detect a slight stiffening when he asked the question? He had only meant to further their little post-coital conversation. “I don’t mean to put you on the spot,” he hurried to say, wondering if he had imagined the slight body language. “If it’s none of my business, just say so.”
Sam relaxed against the bunched up—and damp—pillows. “No. It’s okay. We came from a small village in Sicily. Lots of mountains, rocks, olive trees…not much else. You would probably think it’s pretty, but me, I was bored. We just decided one day to go, to come to America, to see if we could make a go of it here. We tried New York City first, but it was too crazy there. Too many people, too expensive. We wanted someplace where everything was not concrete, where there was some nature. Seattle was, how would you say? A natural choice.”
Now it was Thad’s turn to stiffen just a bit. What was with all the ‘we’ this and ‘we’ that? His feelings, briefly at an all-time high, sunk. Was Sam married? Did he have a lover? Was Thad just that night’s side dish? Sam’s olive cake with Marion berries? Would Sam soon be getting up to hurry home to someone who was sleeping with one eye open, waiting for the sound of his key in the door? Thad did not want to come off as suspicious, but he couldn’t resist his next question and thought he might as well get everything out in the open right from the start.
“You said ‘we’. Who’s ‘we’?” Thad tried to bite his lip to keep himself from saying it, but he couldn’t resist the impulse. “Wait. Don’t tell me. There’s a boyfriend—or a wife—right?” Thad held his breath, waiting for the bad news to be delivered. It wouldn’t surprise him, but it would certainly deflate him. And it would be just about right for how his life had been going lately.
Sam chuckled and took a last drag off his cigarette. He got up and went to the window to flick it outside. His ass, high and firm, glowed in the moonlight and Thad wondered if he would have to rethink his policy of not dating committed men. Hell, with that ass, I may have to rethink my policy of being a total bottom.
He’s not talking because he’s trying to think of the right way to tell me. Thad clutched a pillow to his chest, almost as if he was bracing himself for a blow, which he was.
Sam weighed down the bed as he slid back in beside him. “You silly boy. There’s no one else. I said ‘we’ because I have a son. He came with me.” Sam took Thad’s face in his hands and snatched him up in his dark-eyed gaze. “There’s no one else.” He let go and Thad immediately missed the contact. “I travel light. I usually like, um, no complications? But when I saw you, I couldn’t resist.”
It wasn’t until they were drifting off to sleep that the paranoid side of Thad caught up with him again, causing him to wonder if the fucking was a way to stave off further conversation. Who was this son? Did Sam really just come to America for a change? How many people actually do that…or can even afford to? Stop it, now. He’s here with you now…
And the men drifted off to sleep together...
Real Men. True Love. Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.